Loy Connection to Jesse James

Jesse James with gun

 Jesse James

Earlier this week, I came across an article about a newly-discovered¬†rare photo of a young Jesse James. It brought to mind my own family connections to the James brothers. From earliest childhood I remember my dad telling how his paternal grandfather, a Texas cowboy in the Wild West, had personally known Frank and Jesse James, the Younger brothers, and one night even shared the campfire with Belle Starr, not knowing she was a woman until the next morning when she told him as she went to ride off on her horse. By coincidence, my dad’s father was named Jesse. But I doubt he was named for Jesse James; Grandpa’s maternal grandfather also had name Jesse. As a child, one of Grandpa’s favorite pastimes was playing with the guns and holster his dad used in his Wild West days. (Of course, by then, the guns were always unloaded!)

When Grandpa married, he likely never knew his father-in-law’s Loy family also had Jesse James connections. His father-in-law’s great-grandfather John Henry Loy (patriarch of the Effingham Co., Illinois Loys) had a first cousin Catherine (Loy) Albright, daughter of George Loy, son of Martin Loy (to America 1741).¬† Catherine’s son Daniel Albright migrated to Clay Co., Missouri just after the 1840 census was taken. As it happened, Clay and its neighboring counties were a popular migration spot for others of the Martin Loy (to America 1741) family in 1840s-early 1850s.

This Daniel Albright’s son William Holton Albright was a licensed preacher. During the Gold Rush, William, his uncle Henry Albright, Rev. Robert James, and other men from Clay County made an overland trip to California, then later returned. Rev. Robert James and his wife Zerelda (Cole) James were parents of Frank and Jesse. Zerelda’s brother Jesse Richard Cole’s daughter Sarah Jane married Joel Thomas Albright. Joel was brother to William. Sarah Jane’s sister Bettie, after her widowhood, married widower Elias Albright, whose father was William’s uncle Henry Albright. And…Sarah Jane and Bettie’s nephew Jesse R. Cole married first cousin Pearl Albright, daughter of Joel Thomas and Sarah Jane (Cole) Albright.

So, though Frank and Jesse didn’t have any Loy descendants, Catherine (Loy) Albright’s Albright-Cole descendants do have them for cousins. Other than that, the rest of us Martin Loy (to America 1741) descendants just have these outlaws for in-laws.

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